Weekend reading: Seniors smoking marijuana; Same-sex marriage and public health

Published on March 30, 2013 at 5:06 AM · 1 Comment

Every week reporter Ankita Rao selects interesting reading from around the Web.

The New York Times: Shuffleboard? Oh, Maybe Let's Get High Instead
For Cher Neufer, a 65-year-old retired teacher, socializing with friends (all in their 60s) means using marijuana. Once a week they get together to play Texas Hold 'Em poker "and pass around a doobie," Ms. Neufer said. … Statistics suggest that more members of the older generations, like Ms. Neufer, are using marijuana. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported in 2011 that 6.3 percent of adults between the ages of 50 and 59 used the drug. That number has risen from 2.7 percent in 2002. And anecdotal evidence points to much of this use being sociable rather than medical (Alyson Krueger, 3/22).

The Wall Street Journal: Science Fiction Comes Alive As Researchers Grow Organs In Lab
Reaching into a stainless steel tray, Francisco Fernandez-Aviles lifted up a gray, rubbery mass the size of a fat fist. … Inside a warren of rooms buried in the basement of Gregorio Marañón hospital here, Dr. Aviles and his team are at the sharpest edge of the bioengineering revolution that has turned the science-fiction dream of building replacement parts for the human body into a reality. … Now, with the quest to build a heart, researchers are tackling the most complex organ yet. The payoff could be huge, both medically and financially, because so many people around the world are afflicted with heart disease. Researchers see a multi-billion-dollar market developing for heart parts that could repair diseased hearts and clogged arteries (Gautam Naik, 3/22). 

NPR: Unfit For Work
In the past three decades, the number of Americans who are on disability has skyrocketed. The rise has come even as medical advances have allowed many more people to remain on the job, and new laws have banned workplace discrimination against the disabled. … But the story of these programs -- who goes on them, and why, and what happens after that -- is, to a large extent, the story of the U.S. economy. It's the story not only of an aging workforce, but also of a hidden, increasingly expensive safety net (Chana Joffe-Walt, 3/25). 

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Comments
  1. Malcolm Kyle Malcolm Kyle Netherlands says:

    When we regulate something we do NOT automatically condone it's use; the regulations concerning alcohol and tobacco are there to protect us from the vast increase in criminality that would otherwise exist if these substances were prohibited.

    A regulated and licensed distribution network for all mind altering substances would put responsible adult supervision in between children and premature access to drug distribution outlets (illegal street dealers). Regulated and licensed distribution would reflect and respect society's values, thus preventing children obtaining easy access to these substances. What we need is legalized regulation. What we have now, due to prohibition, is a non-regulated black market to which everybody has access and where all the profits go to organized crime and terrorists.

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